Difficult outings on the mound can wreak mental havoc on young pitcher who just made it out of the minor leagues.
Drabek may be young without a great deal of MLB experience, but I think he has handled the pressure quite well.
On July 4, 2010, I had the privilege with my fiancé and sister of watching him pitch a no-hitter with the NH Fisher Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Blue Jays.
The entire night was incredibly special, including a ceremony with the Governor swearing in new U.S. citizens on the field.
Drabek’s no-hitter was one of the most exciting baseball games I’ve ever attended.
When the game ended and he was interviewed, he was a true gentleman of the game, and gave his entire team the credit instead of accepting it for himself.
That gesture made him a class act in my eyes.
His father, Doug Drabek, was also an MLB pitcher and won the NL Cy Young Award in 1990.
Originally drafted in the first round in 2006 by the Phillies organization, he was traded to the Blue Jays on Dec. 16, 2009. The deal sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies.
Drabek made his MLB debut on Sept. 15, 2010 against the Minnesota Twins. He pitched seven innings, threw 101 pitches with seven strikeouts and gave up one hit and one earned run.
He and his father both had their first career wins against the Twins.
Hitting a difficult spot on June 1, 2011, he took a beating from the Cleveland Indians and lasted only .2 of an inning. Throwing only 38 pitches, he allowed three hits, three walks, had one strikeout and allowed four earned runs.
Toronto optioned him to Triple-A Las Vegas on June 14, being replaced in the rotation by Zach Stewart.
He was eventually called back up to Toronto on Sept. 7.
Drabek’s four-seam fastball tops out at about 93 MPH. He tends to drop a few MPH after a few innings, and his curveball seems to be his knockout pitch. He often utilizes it when batters have two strikes, and it has served him well.
Although he has struggled in his short time in MLB, he has the potential to grow and become a top pitcher in the league.
Since his call up to Toronto, he has a win-loss record of 4-8, an ERA of 5.83, 63 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP in a total of 21 games.
With spring training only a few weeks away, Drabek will gain valuable pitching coaching and conditioning to better prepare him.
He has had time to develop and will receive more time in spring training and as the season begins.
Drabek has exceptional pitching skills that just need to be further developed and refined for 2012. He has some MLB experience behind him to learn from, and he will build on that knowledge.
He may not be perfect, but I think that Kyle Drabek is going to have a solid 2012 season and will demonstrate impressive outings.